Thursday, February 26, 2009

always start with a warmed teapot

My relationship to time has been all out of whack for a while. A constant sense of time passing makes it hard for me to settle down to really enjoy things, pray, be with people (in the moment, mindful...that sort of thing).
I have been trying to get better about this. Sometimes the trying only makes things worse. I love the times when I forget myself and find myself just doing things. Drawing has been a part of this. I see it as a way of giving thanks. A form of prayer. There have been occasions when I have forgotten that time was passing.
This happens with spoken prayer as well - but more rarely (for me at least).
I did not really take time to wonder if there was a lenten discipline that I should follow but have decided to steal an exercise from Jim Gordon, a Scottish Baptist, that I will at least try and follow throughout lent. The different ways of seeing that come for me in prayer and art only seem to seep into the rest of life for moments at a time. I want a whole huge change at once but, as I have been learning and forgetting and learning again for a long time, the change comes in regular practice and incremental progress.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

the beginnings of a country

I don't know much about James Baldwin but was very glad to read Claudia Roth Pierrepont's article in the New Yorker, which ends with these sentences:
During his wanderings, Baldwin warned a friend who had urged him to settle down that “the place in which I’ll fit will not exist until I make it.” It was, of course, impossible to make such a place alone. But, by the grace of those who have kept on working, as he put it, “to make the kingdom new, to make it honorable and worthy of life,” we have at last the beginnings of a country to which James Baldwin could come home.

After reading the article I started thinking about writers and preachers who made great art or theology in the midst of their very bad circumstances. To catch just a few who have stayed with me: Richard Wurmbrand, in a Romanian prison, preaching sermons to himself (which he later published); Alexandr Solzhenitsyn using a rosary made from bread to memorize his novel; Dietrich Bonhoeffer singing his theology and love for the world from the prison cell; Irina Ratushinskaya, in the Gulag, writing her poems in bars of soap so as to learn them. They were all prisoners - and Christians - just the first four who came to mind. Need to think a bit more on why these four. I'll leave it at this for now.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

i can smell meat...and garlic

I am posting this just to have something to post, as much as for any other reason. I have not been happy with anything I have drawn since last week's watch - so no pictures or much original thought here. When I started the blog I thought, I will post something every day for a month and then I will relax about the whole thing. This was silly. Now I think, I will post something every week for a (er...) and then I will relax about the whole thing.

I have not seen this film but have read that it is good (it is only available in the UK). Watching the trailer I am tempted to think that it looks a wee bit sentimental. But I can like that. Especially when a wee bit homesick.

I have been thinking about food (I finished In Defense of Food this week) and community (Colossians RE:mixed was very good on this). Without community (at the broadest level) the food is never going to reach your plate. Without community, support, friendship, it is not going to be possible to achieve much of anything at all. I get this at all sorts of levels (raw need being one) but have not engaged in acting on it much recently. The trailer at some level points to some of the ways things should be. Revolution is possible. People change. Sets me off thinking about the kingdom.